'Azzun, Beit Furik, Burin (Yitzhar), Habla, Huwwara, Jit Junction , Za'tara (Tapuah)
13:45. – 14:00. Agricultural gate, Habla, seam line
The gate is open. Two jeeps are parked on the Palestinian side, and several soldiers stand around. One of them greets us: “How are you?” All seems quiet. A car drives through the gate to the Israeli side.
Then a woman carrying an infant wrapped in a blanket approaches, accompanied by a man carrying some bags. They enter the inspection hut.
After a few minutes, they emerge. They come through the gate; the man gets into a car that has come to pick him up and they drive away.
The woman sits on the bench and makes a phone call, apparently waiting for a ride.
It is the first sunny day after a week of storms, which apparently didn’t affect the West Bank. The general impression is one of tense calm, with people trying to go about their daily tasks in the midst of a threatening situation. Many military vehicles on the roads, groups of soldiers everywhere, and the concrete cubes used to create roadblocks scattered by the roadsides. At the bus stops, settlers, mainly young men, accompanied by soldiers, wait and try to thumb a ride.
14: 15 – 15:15: At Azzun, several soldiers stand under some trees.
At Jit Junction, there is a jeep. Is the intention to create a roadblock there?
Burin: Two jeeps and several soldiers in front of the school.
At the entrance to Bracha, two soldiers patrol the bus stop.
Three soldiers stand at the entrance to Awarta.
Beit Furik. Three soldiers stand next to the watchtower. A group of soldiers is conducting a foot patrol. They signal us to stop, and one inquires who we are and where we are going. We say we are making the rounds of the roadblocks in the area. He nods; there are no further questions, and we can go.
Huwwara: A command car and a long line of traffic going toward Nablus.
Two soldiers are posted at the entrance to Beita; there are a few concrete cubes by the roadside.
Za’atara: two soldiers at the bus stop.
Soldiers are posted at the entrance to Ariel.
I wonder about the presence of all these young soldiers, recently out of high school. A show of strength, ostensibly aimed at protecting the settlers against a stabbing or shooting attack. But the soldiers are also targets, and a provocation.
Afterward, back in Israel in the late afternoon, I visit friends. One says it’s dangerous to go there. Wasn’t I afraid? I say no, no more than anywhere else these days. I’m more afraid of someone who says everyone should carry a gun, or that anyone who brandishes a knife or a screwdriver should be shot.